Contact: Ben Sherman
NOAA News Releases 2005
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Grant Administered by East Carolina University

NOAA today awarded East Carolina University more than $450,000 to develop a database of geographic information systems (GIS) tool to predict ecosystem modification due to a rise in sea level in North Carolina.

A rising sea level poses many threats to coastal cities, ports, and wetlands. An increase in sea level will provide a higher base for storm surges, and increase the rate of shoreline erosion. Researchers at East Carolina University will construct a GIS database of shoreline variables including off-shore bottom characteristics, shoreline geometry, height and composition of sediment banks, vegetation, boat wake, soil series, marsh zone width, land form type and location, and elevation. By using relevant GIS datasets, remotely sensed observations, sediment cores and samples that have been collected and analyzed over the last two decades, researchers can determine the factors and scales necessary to evaluate shore-zone change.

“Developing predictive tools to better understand how rising sea level affects our shores is critical to the resource management of our coasts,” said retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr., Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “NOAA’s partnership with East Carolina University will help create forecasting programs to evaluate how the predicted rise in sea level will affect sensitive coastal ecosystems.”

Each year, the NOAA Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research awards approximately $25 million in grants to institutions of higher education, state, local, and tribal governments, and other non-profit research institutions to assist NOAA in fulfilling its mission to study our coastal oceans. NOAA-sponsored competitive research programs such as this example demonstrate NOAA's commitment to its historic responsibilities of science and service to the nation for the past 35 years.

NOAA’s National Ocean Service is dedicated to exploring, understanding, conserving and restoring the nation’s coasts and oceans. It balances environmental protection with economic prosperity in fulfilling its mission of promoting safe navigation, supporting coastal communities, sustaining coastal habitats and mitigating coastal hazards.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners and nearly 60 countries to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes.

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